“It is I; do not be afraid.”
Galilee was known for sudden and unpredictable storms. The wind increases rapidly, causing the Sea of Galilee to become a turbulent and dangerous sea. We read, on a few occasions, the lives of the disciples were at risk because of these great storms. In a very practical way, their experience illustrates for us the trials of life.
Jesus went up the mountain to pray and sent the disciples across the sea toward Capernaum. As they traveled, they faced a great storm. John tells us they had been rowing for close to four miles against the wind and the rising sea. Matthew explains they had been rowing all night and adds, they were “Being tossed by the sea because the wind was contrary.” At the rate they were going, it may have seemed this storm would never end and their final resting place would be the bottom of the sea.
Sometimes, life is like that. No matter how hard we work, how faithful we are to the Lord, there are times when life is like rowing against a the storm. We have all faced trials of that kind. We fight and fight just to stay afloat, but it seems like the difficulty will never end. As the story continues, there are two things that encourage me greatly. First, Jesus was aware of what they were going through. While they were rowing, He was praying. The writer of Hebrews explains that one of Jesus’ key roles is to pray for us. No matter what you are facing, you have an advocate with the Father. Jesus, Himself, is watching and praying. Second, I notice that Jesus came to them. In the middle of the sea and the storm, Jesus appeared in a miraculous way. I am struck by their response,
John 6:21 “Then they willingly received Him into the boat”
In the midst of what you are facing, Jesus watches and wants in. Take time today to let Him in.
Questions for John 6
- According to verse 2, 5, how many people were following after Jesus? How many men are numbered in verse 10? Do you think that there were women and children there in addition to the men?
- As Jesus asks the apostles how to feed the multitude, notice the apostles’ response to Jesus in verses 7 and 9. What are the attempted solutions? What resources do they think to draw upon? Do you find yourself doing the same thing when faced with an overwhelming difficulty?
- Jesus reaches into the resources of heaven and miraculously provides. How much food did he start with? Did the people eat enough food? How much food did they finish with?
- Consider verse 11. Although we are not told exactly how Jesus multiplied the food, we are given a clue as to one method Jesus uses to bring the resources of heaven to earth. What is that way?
- The disciples are freaked out when they see Jesus walking on the water. What is His response to their fear?
- Note verse 15 and 26. What was the people’s reaction to Jesus’ miraculous provision? How does He correct their perspective in verse 27?
- What did Jesus say is the work of God, the thing that God is looking for from people?
- Read Exodus 16, the children of Israel receive the miraculous provision of manna when they lived in the desert. What was the shortcoming of this bread (verse 49)? What did Jesus say the true bread was?
- In verses 50-58, Jesus explains how we must be nourished by Him and lives in Him. What are some of the disciples’ reactions to this teaching (verses 60-66)?
- What was Peter’s reaction to the same teaching? How do you react when Jesus is saying something difficult for you to understand?